Saint Martin's College Commencement will be May 11

Friday, May 3, 2002

Lacey, Wash. - FBI Special Agent Michael A. Mason, who has devoted his life to public service and was Watch Commander of the agency’s Strategic Information Operations Center following the events of September 11, will address the Saint Martin’s College Class of 2002 at its Commencement Convocation Saturday, May 11. Commencement ceremonies begin at 1 p.m. at Saint Martin’s Pavilion, 5300 Pacific Ave. S.E.

In his message, “I Build Cathedrals,” Mason will speak about the significance of the contributions we make to society and how seemingly insignificant gifts contribute to the greater good.

Mason will speak shortly before degrees are conferred on the Class of 2002. Also speaking will be class Co-Valedictorians Aaron A. Goings of Aberdeen and Jonathan D. Wood of East Olympia. Both have maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Salutatorian and student body president Emily B. Thomas of Dufur, Ore., will represent the Class of 2002 as class speaker. (Please see brief Commencement biographies below.)

The Class of 2002 is composed of students who completed degree requirements in May and December 2001, as well as those who will do so in August. It also contains those enrolled at the college’s main campus in Lacey and its two extension campuses at Fort Lewis Army Post and McChord Air Force Base.

Saint Martin’s College is an independent, Roman Catholic coeducational college offering a full range of baccalaureate and graduate degree programs. About 1,000 students are enrolled on its main campus and about 600 more in courses offered at its extension campuses.

Saint Martin's College Commencement biographies

Aaron Anthony Goings
Co-valedictorian - Class of 2002

Co-valedictorian Aaron Anthony Goings of Aberdeen has accomplished what only a select few achieve in their academic career: a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Goings, who is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in political science, transferred to Saint Martin’s College from Grays Harbor College, where he was also valedictorian of his class.

At Saint Martin's, Goings has been active in Alpha Sigma Chi fraternity and the Society of Fellows, the college's honor society. He has served as an intern with the Washington State Senate and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. He recently became the first recipient of the Father Jerome Toner, O.S.B., Award for outstanding achievement in student activism. His career at Saint Martin's has been highlighted by a large amount of original research on labor history. Following graduation, Goings will attend The Evergreen State College to continue his research before beginning graduate school.

He credits his academic success to the mentorship of Saint Martin’s faculty member Dr. Roger Snider and to the support of his family, especially his parents, Christine and Michael Goings, and his grandmother Nina Archie.

Jonathan D. Wood
Co-valedictorian - Class of 2002

Jonathan Wood of East Olympia shares the distinction of having achieved a perfect 4.0 grade point average during his college career. He earned his bachelor of arts degree in elementary education with endorsements in English and early childhood education in December 2001.

A transfer student from South Puget Sound Community College, Wood was born in 1977 in Seattle and grew up in Lacey, except for a brief stint in Massachusetts. He was home-schooled by his parents, Ish Wood of Shoreline and Donna Young of Pierce County. Wood says it was through watching them in the classroom that he became inspired to teach.

Wood enjoys acting and has been involved with community theater presentations in past years.
He says the support of his wife, Eve, and his father enabled him to finish college. Wood, who is working out this school year as a substitute teacher, says he will always love learning alongside children. His goal is to be a successful teacher.

Emily B. Thomas
Salutatorian, Class Speaker - Class of 2002

Emily B. Thomas, 2002’s Class Speaker, is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration. The daughter of Bill and Barbara Thomas, she hails from the small Oregon farming community of Dufur.

She says she has been blessed with incredible opportunities for personal growth during her four years as a Saint Martin’s student. She served this year as president of the Associated Students of Saint Martin’s College, the student government. Last year, she was ASSMC’s senator of community services. She is a member of the track and cross country teams, a participant in numerous service projects, including community service trips to Mexico, and was a residence hall advisor. She recently won a scholarship from Japan’s Mukogawa Women’s University to participate in its summer Japanese Culture Studies Program for American college women. Last year, she was a member of the college’s annual Japan Cultural Exchange.

Thomas, who has a concentration in marketing and a minor in psychology, received the business and economic division’s coveted Wall Street Journal Award for academic achievement and plans a career in accounts management with a marketing or advertising agency. She hopes her career will take her to the land of her heart, Colorado. She also wants to continue traveling and someday become a wife and mother. An active member in Campus Ministry, she also plans to remain involved in youth ministry activities.

Michael A. Mason, Special Agent in Charge, Sacramento Division, FBI
Commencement Speaker

Michael A. Mason has spent his career serving his nation, first as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and since 1985, as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mason earned his baccalaureate degree in accounting from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. He was commissioned to the Marine Corps as a platoon commander in 1980, attaining the rank of captain before separating from the Marines five years later. In January 1985, he was appointed by the FBI as a special agent. Since that time, his career with the agency has included service as a supervisor, field supervisor, section chief and, from December 2001 until recently, special assistant to the director.

He has worked as an undercover agent in numerous narcotics investigations; was case agent on the successful resolution of a kidnapping and apprehended two murderers in Hartford, Conn. He successfully investigated numerous public corruption matters and supervised the investigation of the murder of Dr. Bernard Slepian and a subsequent investigation to locate an FBI Top Ten Fugitive. Following the tragic events of September 11, Mason served as Watch Commander of the agency’s Strategic Information Operations Center. Earlier this month, Mason was appointed Special Agent in Charge, Sacramento Division, FBI.

For more information:
May 3, 2002 Mary Law
360-438-4356 or

Holly Harmon, director of communication
Saint Martin’s Office of Communication
360-438-4332 or